31 Jul 2005

Sunday 27 February 2002

By Alan Parkhouse, sports editor, The Nation daily newspaper, Thailand
Bangkok: In a landmark agreement and one which will put the spotlight firmly on Thailand's traditional martial art, the World Boxing Council (WBC) will now officially sanction MUAYTHAI world titles in 17 weight divisions worldwide.
An agreement signed by the WBC President, Dr Jose Sulaiman and the Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, Dr Santiparb Tejavanija heralds in a new era for muaythai, the popular sport of Thailand.
The WBC has set up a special division WBC MUAYTHAI headed by Pol. Gen. Kovid Bhakdibhumi, president of the Asian Boxing Council and vice-president of the WBC.

WBC MUAYTHAI will be responsible for all world rankings, championship events and global media. In order to create better understanding - and integrity for the sport on the world stage - the WBC is planning a world convention to discuss all rules, regulations, championship events and the future expansion of muaythai.

The growth of international muaythai clubs and associations has created the need for a reputable global organization to provide official rankings and sanctioning for major muaythai championship events, and it's been determined by the Sports Authority of Thailand that W.B.C. MUAYTHAI d officially sanction all professional muaythai competition.

The WBC is the world's oldest and most credible boxing authority for rankings and title sanctioning. The rapid rise in the popularity of muaythai as a leading martial art and ring sport has resulted in the WBC taking the unprecedented action of expanding its global organization to include a special branch for muaythai.

Consequently, muaythai will gain even greater popularity, recognition and professional status through the support structure of the WBC.
With the WBC now recognized as the official sanctioning body for muaythai globally, Thai fighters will be able to earn higher international payments for championship contests and, as well, Thailand's national sport will benefit from the huge audiences of worldwide television broadcasts.

The official rankings in all divisions - and the WBC MUAYTHAI sanctioning of all muaythai championship events - will ensure that those who excel in the Thai fighting art (in particular talented young fighters) will be given every opportunity to enter into the highest levels of professional international competition.

The heavier weight Thai fighters who have difficulty getting match-ups in Thailand will, under the WBC umbrella, be able to get world title fights against top Europeans and Americans.

It's understood that Pol.Gen. Kovid will soon be visiting the CIS countries of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan where heavier muaythai fighters are lining up for world rankings and title shots.

WBC MUAYTHAI has agreed to abide by the MUAYTHAI rules and regulations of the Sports Authority of Thailand - and will promote, market and sanction muaythai as a professional sport.

The WBC MUAYTHAI has undertaken to foster muaythai as a ring sport at the highest levels of competition, and recognizes that muaythai should be viewed around the world as an important cultural tradition and heritage of the Kingdom of Thailand. The WBC will establish sub-committees for all muaythai rankings, events, rules & regulations and media.

In 2002 the Sports Authority of Thailand established standard rules and regulations for all boxing, including muaythai. The regulations provide safety standards for all competition including checks on illegal drugs and prohibited substances.
The WBC MUAYTHAI will appoint judges and referees to ensure all fighters give optimum performance and that there is fairness in all competition.

It's understood that some of the world's top fight promoters are already planning some big events for WBC MUAYTHAI world title fights. The first championship is likely to be staged in Las Vegas mid-year.

While muaythai has grown in international popularity over recent years other ring sports like the K1 in Tokyo have dominated media publicity. Now that MUAYTHAI has come under the umbrella of the WBC the sport can better position itself as the world leader in professional ring combat.

The Olympic committee is looking at including muaythai as an official sport for future Olympics. The rules of muaythai are fought over five three-minute rounds and permit the use of four body weapons - punches, kicks, knees and elbow strikes.

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